Press Release
November 24, 2015

DOTC suspends NBI, Police clearance requirement for driver's licenses

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto today welcomed the Department of Transportation and Communications' (DOTC) move to suspend its order requiring applicants for a professional driver's license to first secure a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The suspension came after Recto and Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed concern that such a requirement is another red tape which will further burden applicants.

In his interpellation of the proposed 2016 budget of the DOTC, Recto said professional drivers, most of whom are low-wage earners, will have to contend with long queues to secure the "no criminal record" clearance from the two agencies.

He proposed that NBI and the police instead "electronically and manually provide the LTO with their databases on persons with criminal records."

"Why not provide the LTO with a negative list and use this as a basis for approving or disapproving applications for a professional driver's license?" Recto told the DOTC officials in attendance. "Kesa pipila pa sila sa NBI at sa estasyon ng pulis, baka pwedeng ipadala na lang nila sa LTO ang listahan ng mga taong may kasong kriminal o wanted ng batas," Recto said.

"Pwede naman file sharing na lang," he added.

"If there's a guy there who has been charged a number of times with reckless imprudence while operating a vehicle, then the police can just red flag his name and forward it to the LTO," he said.

This "information-sharing protocol" can be done through the Internet, Recto said. "Kaya hindi na kailangan pumila sa presinto o sa mga opisina ng NBI," the senator stressed.

Recto said he agreed with the observation of Drilon that the matter be studied further as there are criminal charges which have no bearing on one's qualification to drive.

"Tama si Senator Frank ng sinabi nya kung may kaso ka ng libel at hindi ka pa convicted, bakit ka pagkakaitan ng pribilehiyong magmaneho?" Recto said.

"If you're an activist and you have a pending case for illegal assembly, I think this shouldn't be made a basis for the rejection of your application," he said.

In his own interpellation of the sponsor of the DOTC budget, Drilon asked what information the LTO would derive from the clearances that would prompt it to reject an application. "Ano ba ang mga kaso na mag-di-disqualify sa isang aplikante? Kasama ba dito ang estafa, halimbawa? Kung hindi pa convicted, knock-out ka na ba kaagad?" Recto said.

DOTC officials estimated that about 1.5 million holders of a professional driver's license will be covered by the directive.

But that directive has been suspended "for further study" upon the insistence of Drilon and Recto, which the DOTC concurred with.

"This move will spare 1.5 million drivers from the hassle of queuing and paying for both NBI and police clearances," Recto said.

In the meantime, the LTO and the two law enforcement agencies "should immediately forge interconnectivity so that those who shouldn't be allowed to drive, like wanted persons for capital crimes and serial drunk drivers, will not be issued a license," Recto said.

Recto thanked Drilon for supporting his call to freeze the LTO order. "Si Senator Frank din ang dumikdik sa kanila na i-suspinde ito."

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